Many parents struggle to reconcile their parenting styles with what society deems “acceptable.” There are countless possible strategies you can use to ensure your children grow up as healthy, responsible, and productive members of society. Unfortunately, some people make bad parenting mistakes that result in their children cultivating low self-esteem, poor self-image, and even trauma in extreme cases.
Some parents may engage in problematic or even outright abusive behaviors knowingly. Others make crucial mistakes when attempting to parent in good faith. There are several common mistakes that all families should avoid, and practical, reasonable, and effective alternatives exist for each of them.
Discipline is essential for every growing child, but it is up to you to determine the appropriate method, time, and place to administer discipline. One of the worst mistakes you can make is humiliating your child in public. Some people believe that their children need to “learn the hard way.” Some believe that public displays of discipline somehow encourage conformity and obedience. But the reality is that public disciplining of your child only cultivates resentment and distrust. This behavior can also lead to your child experiencing ridicule and bullying from their peers if you publicly discipline them at school or another location in front of other children.
Every parent will need to reprimand their child at some point. You should know when enough is enough though. Excessively reprimanding a child does not reinforce the original point of the reprimand. Once the point is made and they recognize their error, it is time to move on. Continuing to harp on your child will simply erode their confidence and trust in you. Ultimately, your child will begin to fear you rather than respect you.
Withholding Affection and Approval
Children need your emotional support, even when they make mistakes. When you refuse to hug them or constantly remind them of a recent discipline issue, this does not encourage your child to improve their behavior. Instead, this dynamic will teach them that your love is conditional.
Little to No Encouragement
Parents have the important responsibility of supporting their children and fostering confidence and security. When you fail to provide the encouragement that your child desperately needs, this will only reinforce their belief that they are on their own and that they cannot count on you to support them.
Ignoring a Child’s Questions
It’s no secret that children, especially younger children, are full of questions. You may grow frustrated and ignore these questions. This ultimately leads to your children thinking they can’t rely on you for the answers they need to make sense of the world. Parents must understand that while these questions can sometimes be frustrating, repetitive, or even nonsensical, it’s your job to help them interpret and understand the world. When you ignore your child’s questions, or worse, ridicule them for even asking, this reinforces their belief that they cannot trust their parents to guide them through the world.
Potential Outcomes of Bad Parenting
Countless children have risen above hard family circumstances in their childhood years and achieved tremendous success. However, many other children do not. Bad parenting can squash a child’s ability to make sense of the world. It can also erode their trust in authority and cultivate antisocial tendencies. It may even reduce a child’s ability to become self-sufficient later in life.
Parenting can be difficult and frustrating. You must realize that the experience can change you just as much as your children. Stay positive! Reinforce your children’s independence. Help them navigate the world with confidence. That should be every parent’s priority when it comes to raising your kids.